While the NDP government is keeping the staffing model for the wildfire service the same, this year a confidential study suggests another look.
NL News obtained a copy of a study through Freedom of Information which assessed the effectiveness of 3, 4, or 5 person initial attack crews.
The consultant suggested, a five person unit is larger than needed for the less complex fires with the cost outweighing the benefits.
Wildfire Chief Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says, for this fire season there will be no changes in the staffing models stressing a move up would have far reaching cost implications.
“We are going to maintain that default for now going to keep those three person crews this year as a default. but we are going to keep it fairly flexible so we are going to have situations where we got available staff we might be expanding that to a four person crew or a five person crew.”
Liberal Forest critic John Rustad says, expanding the size of the initial attack crews is worth trying.
“I think its worth exploring whether we do that as a pilot in a number of areas to be able to measure it out or whether we do wholesale changes I still think its something that needs to be determined.”
The consultant added, five person initial attack crews would be more difficult to implement but research has shown more complex blazes require a larger crew with a higher level of experience.